The good news is, according to surveys, we're valuing our mental health just as much as our physical health. Yet it's no coincidence that the most popular holiday gifts and New Year's resolutions revolve largely around the latter—fitness trackers, gym memberships, and the like.
Right now, as many as one in four, or 60 million, Americans are experiencing or struggling with mental health challenges ranging from anxiety to mood disorders, and less than half don't have the support they need to cope and move forward. Realistically, self-care gifts of the sheet-mask variety won't really cut it.
When it comes to helping either yourself or someone you love take steps to create a happier, healthier life, the gift of therapy—the chance to connect with a professional in a private, confidential, and safe space—is one of the most valuable and practical gifts for improving well-being. And thankfully, this holiday season—with affordable online therapy apps like Talkspace—the gift of therapy is now one of the easiest to give.
Why consider online therapy?
While newer to the scene, online therapy is gaining traction as a more flexible, lower-cost option to traditional therapy, or in-person therapy, which requires scheduling based on a therapist's availability, traveling to their office for appointments, and can run anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds out-of-pocket per session.
Beyond that, making consistent in-person appointments can be harder for folks with social anxiety or anyone who has trouble opening up to someone face-to-face; physical disabilities; difficulty taking time off work or coordinating child care, a long commute to their therapist's office, and so on. All you need to get started with online therapy, on the other hand, is a willingness to give it a try and a working internet connection.
Is it as effective as in-person therapy?
Early studies comparing the effectiveness of online therapy to in-person therapy are finding that apps can be equivalent to face-to-face care. In one study surveying online therapy patients, nearly everyone said that they felt they could present the same information virtually as they could in person and were satisfied with and felt comfortable during their sessions.
Of course, your experience will ultimately depend on why you're seeking support. But there's strong evidence showing that online therapy can be exceptionally beneficial for people who are dealing with stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression.
Giving the gift of therapy.
This holiday season, Talkspace—the leading online therapy app with over 5,000 therapists that have served over 1 million users—is offering a customizable therapy e-card, the perfect gift for you or someone you love who could use a little extra support with the hard but necessary mental health aspect of self-care.
With Talkspace's e-card, you can choose from a single live video session (great for anyone totally new to therapy to test out the waters) or unlimited messaging with a licensed therapist, which lets users write out their thoughts and issues whenever the need to connect with their therapist arises. The gift card already has a steep discount applied to whichever option you pick.
If you're gifting but worried about the awkwardness of suggesting therapy to your recipient, Talkspace makes this part easy, too: You'll be able to send a personalized e-card message along with your gift, and after a quick assessment, your loved one will be matched with the right therapist based on their inputs and responses. From there, he or she can begin their journey toward feeling happier and healthier.
There's something so comforting and empowering about being able to do this on your own terms. So this year, consider giving the gift of therapy as an investment in growth and happiness for the year ahead. There's no better time to prioritize your mental health than the present.